Chat with Arash Markazi
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPNLosAngeles.com writer Arash Markazi stops by to chat. There is never a shortage of questions when it comes to the ongoing saga of the NFL and Los Angeles and that's what Markazi's new blog NFL@L.A. is all about.
Football fans in L.A. aren't alone in their uncertainty about the league's return. The league too has plenty of questions about the city after being away for 16 years. With so many teams rumored to be coming to L.A. and so many proposals being floated, Markazi's blog is the place to get all of the latest information.
Markazi joined ESPNLosAngeles.com as a columnist and writer after five years with Sports Illustrated. Markazi has also written for Slam, King, Vibe and Playboy and is on the board of directors for the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation.
Send your questions now and join Markazi Friday at 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET!
Arash Markazi (4:01 PM)
Welcome to the first installment of our weekly NFL@LA chats on Friday. I'm sure you guys have plenty of questions and I'll do my best to answer them.
Zygi Wilf (Minnesota)
Arash, long time since I talked to you! Just wondering if I need to be worried about the Vikes moving to L.A. when my team is 0-3 and are almost as good at 2nd half collapses as your L.A. Dodgers!
Arash Markazi (4:04 PM)
Haha. Good one. Well, the Vikings' record is certainly not helping their cause to get a new stadium built. Neither is a referendum on the tax increase in Ramsey County that was supposed to fund the stadium. If the citizens get to vote on that tax increase chances are good it will be defeated and the Vikings will be forced to go back to the drawing board when it comes to a new stadium. At that point they would be a likely candidate to move to Los Angeles.
Brett Roach (Los Angeles)
I know a lot of people have asked if there is a possibility of an expansion team in LA and that's not a possibility because the NFL is already organized nicely with its 32 teams, but what it be possible for the NFL to contract a team like Jacksonville and then expand with a new franchise in LA?
Arash Markazi (4:06 PM)
The league isn't likely to expand and they are even less likely to contract a team. I know Jacksonville is easy to pick on but their fans have started to sell out games and the Jaguars are far from the worse team in the league. They also have a decent stadium that was built in 1995. There are a lot of teams worse off than the Jaguars right now.
Kevin (Fullerton, CA)
Tim Leiweke has said he prefers one team over two teams at Farmers Field for scheduling purposes. Is he serious or is he bluffing? And if he is serious, could Farmers Field really end up with just one team?
Arash Markazi (4:08 PM)
I think he just wants to focus on one team right now but the stadium will be built to house two teams which is something the NFL would like if and when they do come back to Los Angeles. They would like to see a similar model used in New York where there would be an AFC and NFC team in Los Angeles. There's certainly a chance Farmers Field is only home to one NFL team but I think by 2017 it will be the home of two teams.
Paul (Brea, CA)
Let's pretend Farmers Field doesn't happen because it doesn't pass EI. What are the chances of AEG buying the Dodgers (when they go up for sale within 2 years) to build a football stadium in Dodger Stadium parking lot and building a new Dodger Stadium at current Farmers Field proposed site? I know this is a extremely long shot but I think this is the "ideal" senario for just about everyone including NFL except people who want to preserve the beautiful Dodger Stadium.
Arash Markazi (4:13 PM)
It's a long shot and I don't see it happening. Leiweke has said AEG isn't interested in buying the Dodgers and they aren't interested in building a downtown baseball stadium. I guess the big problem with your premise is if the football stadium doesn't pass the EIR process, which I believe it will, why would it pass as a baseball stadium? Furthermore, the city signed off on this project as a roofed extension of the convention center primarily used for football on weekends in the fall. I doubt they could make it work as a baseball stadium with about 90 games, many taking place on weekday nights.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NFL Team do you think will move to Los Angeles?
Arash Markazi (4:13 PM)
I think the San Diego Chargers will move to Los Angeles in 2013 with the St. Louis Rams following them in 2015.
Tommy Trojan (USC)
Has Lane Kiffin won over the USC faithful yet? I hear plenty of talk amongst the USC community that his love affair with the NCAA, turnovers, penalties, 3rd down futility and lackluster defense will prove to be his undoing.
Arash Markazi (4:16 PM)
I don't think he's done anything to win over the faithful yet. I think anything short of a BCS game win in the next three years after this two-year bowl ban is over will cause him to be replaced. Until then I think Pat Haden will ride out this probation and scholarship losses and wash his hands of this mess in three years.
Darin (South Pasadena)
The Chargers have said that they won't commit to LA until the stadium deal is done and shovels are in the ground. Do they have any other hurdles that need to be overcome?
Arash Markazi (4:18 PM)
They have to get past the EIR process and sign a binding agreement with the city and they expect to have both done by June 1. That may be too late for the Chargers to move by next season as they have until May 1 to get out of their lease. That's why I think it's more likely that the Chargers will move to LA sometime in February 2013.
@NFLinLA_ (Los Angeles)
I believe if the Rams do decide to move, they won't wait until 2014. They'll buyout from their lease after the 2012 season. The city of St. Louis doesn't have a choice but to accept Stan Kroenke's buyout.
Arash Markazi (4:20 PM)
The biggest problem with that is I don't think the Rams would sign a big check and rush to get out of town so they can play at the Rose Bowl or the Coliseum for a few years. They are in a position to take their time since Farmers Field won't open until 2016 or 2017.
Dana Corrough (Newport Beach, CA)
Why do I get the feeling that Lane Kiffin will not be able to solve problems like turnovers, penalties, 3rd down futility and lackluster defense before he gets fired after next season?
Arash Markazi (4:21 PM)
If you've watched USC under Kiffin there's a reason you feel that way. I think he has a longer leash than usual with the probation and sanctions but I can't see him lasting long if these problems persist.
Brett (Los Angeles)
What's the update on the 49ers/Oakland stadium? Did the recent bill signed by the governor effect them too?
Arash Markazi (4:25 PM)
There's nothing new on the Oakland front but the 49ers are progressing with their plan in Santa Clara. They even bought the amusement park nearby the proposed site which was objecting to the 49ers' plans. Their biggest problem now is financing and that's where a partnership with the Raiders may come into play. The two bills that were passed on Tuesday, SB 292 and AB 900, will help big-ticket projects statewide like arenas and stadiums expedite legal challenges so if the 49ers are ready to start construction and were challenged, that challenge would have to be heard in court immediately and a ruling would be rendered within 175 days. It would not get tied up in litigation for years as has happened with other projects in the past.
562626Steve (Rancho Cucamonga)
We need NFL Football in Los Angeles and Ed Roski's site is shovel ready. Its time for the Rams to come back to Los Angeles and for L.A. to host a super bowl, world cup and other major events a venue such as Industry will offer.
Arash Markazi (4:29 PM)
It is, as they say in Industry, "shovel ready" but no team as of yet has liked the financing package Majestic is offering where a team, for example, would sell Roski 30 percent of the team and then have to finance and own 70 percent of the stadium. The breakdown in ownership of the stadium would be the same as the team. Majestic says the stadium would pay for itself but it's hard to convince owners who are having a hard time financing stadiums in their own cities.
Skeptical NFL Fan (Upper Stratosphere, Farmers Field)
The Farmers Field Phone Booth? Will AEG create the football version of Staples Center where ordinary fans that are unwilling or unable to fork over tons of cash for an overpriced lower bowl be forced to sit on top of three levels of suits and club seating? By the looks of Gensler renderings, the stadium looks to place ordinary fans in the upper Stratosphere.
Arash Markazi (4:32 PM)
Well, sadly, that's the way new NFL stadiums are being designed if you take a look at what they've done in Dallas and New York, which is what the league likes to see. It's certainly not fair for the average fan but prices are already ridiculous as it is in older stadiums. An upper deck ticket to see a preseason game in San Diego was $75 and parking was $25. You're talking about $100 before you even set foot in the building.
Darin (South Pas)
What's the over/under that Al Davis will sue whoever moves to LA?
Arash Markazi (4:34 PM)
Good question. I'd expect him to do something just to make things interesting. You can never count out old Al. Although, considering the Raiders last game in LA was in 1994 and the Raiders haven't even held a preseason game or a training camp here since then, it would be hard to claim this is his territory.
Ralphie (San Jose)
Which of these players from the teams rumored to be coming would be the best for LA: Phillip Rivers, Adrian Peterson, Sam Bradford, or Murice Jones Drew?
Arash Markazi (4:35 PM)
Since this would be in 2013, I'm going to have to go with Rivers and Bradford just because the shelf-life of a running back is so small these days.
Darin (South Pas)
The franchise moving fee may be 500M. San Diego has shown that LA is partly their market. Will they have to play less of a fee? OR, will the NFL and the owners say something like you have LA and SD now, you have to pay full or more?
Arash Markazi (4:37 PM)
The NFL doesn't believe in discounts so I doubt they'd give anyone moving to LA a discount like that but no one really knows what the relocation fee would be. We've all heard $500 million thrown around as speculation but it could be less. The league will charge a heavy price but they won't make it so heavy that it would prevent a team from moving to the second biggest media market.
Darin (South Pas)
following up on Skeptical NFL Fan from Stratosphere Farmer's Field, has there been any more talk about retractable or not roof. I know AEG has said they will pay for it, and that they want other major events held there. I'd think it would be ironic to have a dome with astroturf in LA, open would affect the other sports and retractable costs a lot. Any word on the roof situation?
Arash Markazi (4:44 PM)
Yes, I talked to Leiweke about that on Tuesday and he said they would have an announcement on that soon but it is my belief that they will have some type of retractable roof.
526626Steve (Rancho Cucamonga)
Arash, Thanks for keeping the NFL in L.A. in the headlines. If your analysis is correct about the financing aspect of Roski's plan, then wouldn't he package a deal that would be attractive to NFL owners?
Arash Markazi (4:48 PM)
Roski's original plan was always to buy a team or at least a majority of a team and move it to LA and build his stadium. There are no teams for sale so he's now OK buying say a third of a team but unlike AEG he isn't going to own and privately finance the stadium himself, he would do it in conjunction with the team and the financial and ownership breakdown of the stadium would be the same as the team. The problem with that is most teams don't want to own their stadium, only five teams in the league own their own building. Look at the Chargers and Vikings' stadium proposals and you'll see they want the public to subsidize about 65 percent of it.
Arash Markazi (4:53 PM)
OK, well, that's it for this week's NFL@LA chat. Thanks for all your questions. See you guys next Friday.